Christina DeSalva, a Bethlehem native and graduate of the EP and Community Fellows programs, spent her fellowship at Broughal Middle School, running its new gardening club, and developing curriculum for and teaching students about organic growing practices, sustainability, and the importance of eating locally grown food and how to prepare it. With the help of a Broughal science teacher, DeSalva and her students grew herbs, flowers, peppers and tomatoes in the school’s greenhouse. They expanded their operation to nearby community gardens, and even sold their harvest at Lehigh’s weekly on-campus farmers’ market.
DeSalva concentrated her academic work, too, on food access and local food production, and wrote her thesis on agricultural cooperatives. (Agricultural cooperatives bring together small farms to collectively sell their products, enabling individual farmers to reach more consumers (including larger institutional ones) or get group insurance coverage.) DeSalva hopes her research will take her in the direction of a non-profit career, possibly helping corporations find ways to incorporate more local food into their establishments.